Remarks by a Buckingham Palace spokesperson on the forthcoming State Visit to Kenya

Published 11 October 2023

The King and Queen will undertake a State Visit to Kenya, from Tuesday 31st October to Friday 3rd November 2023, to celebrate the warm relationship between the two countries and the strong and dynamic partnership they continue to forge.

The visit is at the invitation of President Ruto and comes as Kenya prepares to celebrate 60 years of independence. His Majesty’s first visit to a Commonwealth nation as King is therefore to the country in which Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began, as she acceded to the throne in Kenya in February 1952.

Their Majesties will have the opportunity to meet Kenyans even before they depart for the country, when, on October 24th, they host a pre-State Visit reception at Buckingham Palace, for Kenyan diaspora here. This will be an opportunity to celebrate the links between people in both countries.

The King and Queen will then travel out to Kenya at the end of the month, visiting Nairobi City County, Mombasa County and surrounding areas. Their Majesties’ programme will reflect the ways in which Kenya and the United Kingdom are working together, notably to boost mutual prosperity, tackle climate change, promote youth opportunity and employment, advance sustainable development and create a more stable and secure region.

During the visit, Their Majesties will meet President Ruto and the First Lady as well as other members of the Kenyan Government, UN staff, CEOs, faith leaders, young people, future leaders and Kenyan Marines training with UK Royal Marines. The King will also attend an event to celebrate the life and work of the Nobel Laureate the late Professor Wangari Maathai, together with Wangari’s daughter, Wanjira Mathai.

The King and Queen’s programme will celebrate the close links between the British and Kenyan people in areas such as the creative arts, technology, enterprise, education and innovation. The visit will also acknowledge the more painful aspects of the United Kingdom and Kenya’s shared history, including the Emergency (1952-1960). His Majesty will take time during the visit to deepen his understanding of the wrongs suffered in this period by the people of Kenya. Together, Their Majesties will tour a new museum dedicated to Kenya’s history and will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Uhuru Gardens, where they will also visit the site of the declaration of Kenya’s independence in 1963.

The King and Queen’s programme will also include:

  • Their Majesties will be greeted in Nairobi with a ceremonial welcome at State House and will each attend bilateral meetings – The King with The President and The Queen with the First Lady, before The President hosts a State Banquet for the Royal couple at State House.
  • His Majesty will visit the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), home of UN Habitat and the UN Environment Programme, to learn more about their work. UNON is the only UN Headquarters in the Commonwealth.

  • His Majesty will attend a technology showcase, meeting Kenyan entrepreneurs who are driving forward innovation in the country’s important tech sector. Kenya has the third largest start up eco-system in Africa.

  • His Majesty will host a reception focussed on Kenya’s young people and future leaders across development, trade, media, the creative arts and environmental conservation.

  • Their Majesties will visit a Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemetery, joining British and Kenyan military personnel in an act of remembrance, before hearing about the Commission’s recent work to ensure all those who supported Britain’s efforts in both World Wars are commemorated.

  • The King and Queen will visit Nairobi National Park to witness the vital conservation work being undertaken by the Kenya Wildlife Service, which is integral to Kenya’s thriving tourism industry.

  • Her Majesty, Patron of the equine welfare charity Brooke, will hear how the charity is working with the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals to rescue donkeys at risk and promote their welfare.

  • The King, as Captain General of the Royal Marines, and The Queen, will visit Mtongwe Naval Base in Mombasa. There, Their Majesties will witness Kenya’s newly established Marine Commando Unit, trained by the Royal Marines, demonstrating a covert beach landing, showing defence collaboration in action.

  • The Queen will meet survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, learning how they are supported and sharing her own insights from working in this area.

  • The King will meet faith leaders from Mombasa’s diverse community hearing how they are working together to promote harmony amongst the city’s population.

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